Back in the day, when having over 150hp was something to brag about, the Honda reined supreme over the majority of the import tuning scene. Sure there was the VR6, but it was expensive and fairly rare. The G60 was around, but of course it was also expensive, as were the VW Corrados in which they still resided. An engine swap was out of the budget, and 99% of the people around didn't have the skills or knowledge to pull it off in the first place. Yes, back in 1994,a VR6 swapped Mk2 was something to drool over...and to show those Hondas who was boss!
It was a real war back then between the two camps, usually with the argument that VW's had torque, Hondas had horsepower, and the "other guys" car was a piece of junk, naturally. No VW-head worth their BBS wheels would ever dream of swapping a H-word engine under the hood. Most probably wouldn't even be caught dead test driving a Honda or Acura. Which is a shame, because the old D-series and B-Series engines were really well designed, really powerful engines, especially considering their displacement. I'll go ahead and say it: The most impressive naturally aspirated cars I have ever dyno'd have been of the B16 / B18 variety. I mean let's face it, 185whp out of a 1.8L engine is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it revs effortlessly to 9,000rpm and is sitting in a 2000lb Civic hatchback. It's enough to make a dyed in the wool VW person like myself green with envy.
These days though, the line is blurred. A lot of the older Volkswagen people have moved on in life, forgetting the beliefs they were once so passionate about. At the same time, a lot of guys raised on Honda and Acura decided to try out the European car scene, noted for its generally more laid back vibe and friendly people, so you don't really see the hate you used to, and personally I think that's a good think. Believe it or not, I follow a couple of drift / import blogs pretty regularly, and one of my favorites is Risky Devil, a car club / crew / scene over in Chicago. Probably one of the reasons I like it is the style of photography...lots of night shots, and the fact these guys really beat on their cars and drive them, just like a car is supposed to be treated.
So anyways, it's pretty rare to see anything other than a BMW over there, European car wise. Much to my surprise I spotted a rather tasty looking VW Caddy on their post earlier today. Not only that but...what engine is that under the hood? It looks like...a....Honda....K-Series? WTF? Rounding out the Asian-flavored Pickup are a set of Work Equip 03 wheels. Surely this is some sort of sick joke? But at the same time...it's a nice example of a well done, ratty Caddy. Badgeless grill, eyebrow, duckbill spoiler, and a nice low stance. And why not do the Honda engine? Like I said, the world is a smaller place these days. People don't have the same ideas about division and brand loyalty between Asian, European, and American car scenes that they used to. Sure some kitted-up show piece that can barely move under it's own power will always draw derision from the guys who actually drive their cars, but aside from that? It seems like people are able to accept a cool car for being a cool car, rather than only seeing the make. I think it shows that as a scene everyone has moved on, and the world is better for it.
Special thanks to ILL Photography x Risky Devil for the pics.
P.S. - I don't want anyone to think I'm giving up on Save the 8v™ - I don't count Caddys. Don't ask me why, I just don't.